Our Work

Duke University/Universite d'etat d'Haiti educational collaborations

Project Objectives

A collaboration linking Duke undergraduate and graduate courses on trauma and mental health in Haiti, Kreyòl Studies, and Ethnopsychiatry to courses for the Masters program in Ethnology at the Faculte d'ethnologie, UEH. We have held workshops by Haitian faculty and mental health specialists at Duke and vice versa. We are currently expanding the partnership to include French universities, notably the Universite de Paris VII (Diderot) and the Universite de Paris VIII (St. Denis) and several laboratories and research groups. We have begun establishing co-tutelle (inter-institutional MA and PhD committees). The Haiti Digital Library and the Chronology of Louis Mars and Haitian Ethnopsychiatry digital timeline have been developed by me and Laurent Dubois with the contributions of Haitian and Duke graduate and undergraduate students, as supported in part by the French Consulate for the Francophone Digital Humanities project.

Project Outcomes

Three 1 week, intensive courses taught in French at UEH (Louis Mars et l'ethnopsychiatrie haïtienne; L'Ethnopsychiatrie et l'art; Les Discours du trauma); one graduate seminar taught at Duke in French, "Louis Mars et l'ethnologie psychiatrique"

Project Policy Impact Description

One MA student, Ruben Charles, has graduated from the Faculté d'ethnologie at UEH with a committee directed by Deborah Jenson with two Haitian faculty members; a doctoral student, journalist Kesler Bien-Aimé, has a committee of a Haitian professor and Deborah Jenson. We have had several inter-institutional conferences and workshops. We seek to move from individual "co-tutelle" to further opportunities for the circulation of graduate students and faculty in scholarly and research activities between Duke, UEH in Haiti, and French universities.

Postdoctoral Associate Bonnie Kaiser is working under the auspices of Jenson's educational collaborations to integrate Haitian graduate students into DGHI research.

Projects linked to UEH collaborations: MSc-GH student project: "Exploring ethical dilemmas in mental health research in Haiti." The student will collaborate with faculty and students from UEH, as well as with DGHI-affiliated Family Health Ministries in Leogane. The project has the potential to initiate closer ties between FHM and UEH, two DGHI partner institutions in Haiti who have yet to formally collaborate.

Postdoc project: "Food insecurity and mental health in global perspective: Testing the contribution of social and nutritional pathways. Bonnie Kaiser is a co-PI on this National Science Foundation-funded grant ($116,443). UEH students will collaborate as research assistants.

Postdoc grant application: "Community-sourced interventions for global mental health." Bonnie Kaiser is applying for a National Institutes of Health F32 fellowship to conduct research in close collaboration with my faculty collaborators at UEH. This project will bring together ongoing research agendas at Duke at UEH.